On the east coast of Vietnam’s Red River Delta Region, Thai Binh Province is known as the country’s “Homeland of Rice”. Throughout the province, towns and cities are bordered by green fields, sandy spots, and river views. Smaller in size, it’s one of the most historic areas of Vietnam.
With over 2,200 historical or heritage sites, travelers in Thai Binh will have the chance to learn more about the local culture and impact of rice civilization. It’s located southeast of Hanoi along the coast of northern Vietnam.
Costal province in northern Vietnam
Thai Binh Province is in the far east of the Red River Delta Region. Bound by the sea and three rivers, Thai Binh is island-like as it sits apart and is divided from the neighboring provinces of Hai Phong, Hai Hung, and Hà Nam. Covering an area of 1,542 sq km (595 sq mi), the province stretches from the mountains to the sea.
Beautiful landscape in the Thái Bình Province, Vietnam. Photo by: Kien1980v.
Overall, Thai Binh is very flat with fertile land, which is why various agricultural industries have thrived in the area. As a part of the Red River Delta, it’s close to popular northern cities like Haiphong and the country’s capital, Hanoi. Haiphong is less than two hours up the coast while Hanoi is 2 hours further inland.
Many tourists visiting the Hanoi and Haiphong area will travel south to the Thai Binh Province to spend time touring the numerous historic sites. The easiest way for travelers to get to Thai Binh from the northern cities is by driving using either public or private transportation.
Thai Binh is unique because of its distinct culture, which was established thousands of years ago when dynasties ruled the country. Uninterrupted throughout the centuries, and having never been separated or merged, Thai Binh is the only province that has remained as it was first established. This has allowed the locals to develop their own culture with unique elements.
Described as practical and clever, people in Thai Binh Province are known for developing hát chèo opera and water puppetry. Famous people who were from the province include Lê Quy Dôn, a Vietnamese poet, and Trân Thu Dô, who founded the Trân Dynasty. In modern times, Thai Binh Province has become a major influencer in Northern Vietnam.
Known for having wealthy families, the province is home to business tycoons including the Bitexco and Geleximco groups. With an ancient culture and so many notable people, Thai Binh has worked hard to preserve its history and culture for future generations.
Historic photograph of Thái Bình Province. Photo: manhhai
Amongst the thousands of historic sites in the province, key attractions include the Keo Pagoda, Trân Temple, and An Lâp Cathedral as well as various museums. Additionally, Thai Binh is one of the best provinces where visitors can learn more about wet rice cultivation in Vietnam.
- Derived from Sino Vietnamese, Thai Binh means “great peace”.
- Ethnicities in Thai Binh Province include Tày, Muòng, and H’Mông.
- The province is divided into 7 districts, 1 provincial city, 9 towns, 267 communes, and 10 wards.
On the southern border and inland from the sea, Thai Binh City is the capital of the province. During the 10th century, the city was dominated by the Trân clan who eventually rose to greater power and evolved to become the Trân Dynasty. One of the oldest relics from the dynasty’s rule is the Keo Pagoda, which was built in 1061 just outside of the Thai Binh settlement.
For thousands of years, the area remained underdeveloped, but in modern times, it has been rapidly expanded. In 2004, the town was upgraded and declared a Class-2 city. With dozens of historic sites within or just outside of Thai Binh City, the capital has become a popular tourist destination.
Local museum in Thái Bình City, Thái Bình Province, Vietnam. Photo by: .
Development in the city is extensive and there are numerous attractions for tourists apart from the historic sites. Featuring a true city center and economic zone, tourists can explore the beauty and history of the area. Top attractions in Thai Binh City include Keo Pagoda, Thai Binh Wonderland Park, Thai Binh Museum, and the Quang Truòng relic.
As the largest urban area in the province, Thai Binh City has developed a strong tourist sector with dozens of hotels to provide to local, national, and international travelers. Amongst the many accommodation options, there is a range of prices to ensure that everyone can find something within their budget.
From luxury hotels to quiet hostels, the best places to stay in Thái Bình City are the White Palace Lam Son Hotel, Sojo Hotel Thái Bình, White Palace Thái Bình Hotel 1, and the White Palace 2. Usually, only the larger hotels will have an on-site restaurant, so it is important to choose your accommodations based on location.
Most of the hotels and restaurants that are highly rated will be close to the Thai Binh Market area. Serving local and international dishes, the top-rated restaurants in Thai Binh City include the Hutong Thai Binh, Quán 86, and Nhà Hàng Trung Hà.
Famous Places in Thai Binh
Thai Binh Province has several districts that are renowned for their ancient sites and culture. Unlike the provincial capital, the districts in Thai Binh are rural and much quieter. Some of the best districts to explore include Dong Hung, Kien Xuong, Hung Ha, and Vu Thy.
Local woman in the Thái Bình Province, Vietnam. Photo by: Staffan Scherz.
Dong Hung District
Dong Hung District is famous for being the homeland of hát chèo opera and water puppetry. Dating back to the 11th century, these traditional performances, which can be observed while visiting, have become an important part of the area’s cultural identity. The district is also known for cay cake, which is sold in street stalls and restaurants.
Kien Xuong District
In the Kien Xuong District, local art has become an important part of the culture. Famously, the district is home to the Dong Xam silver carving village. Established more than 600 years ago, silver carvings vary from small display pieces to oversized panels. Handmade, the carvings are welded to create ornate designs that are used for religious offerings, worship, decoration, and gifts.
Hung Ha District
Hung Ga District is home to the Tan Le mat weaving, a traditional art that developed during the Hau Le period. Using natural and dyed strands of long grass, the mats are beautifully designed and constructed. Although the exact history has been lost to time, locals traditionally use the mats around the home and now sell them decorative pieces.
Vu Thy District
Similar to the silver carvings, Vu Thy District is known for creating bronze castings. Dating back four centuries, local artisans still practice this art form today. Creating anything from ornate decoration to household utensils and baking molds, the bronze castings are sold on Hang Dong Street.
In addition to smaller pieces, the artists in Vu Thy constructed larger structures like the Amitabha Buddha statue in the Than Quang Pagoda and the Tran Vu statue at the Quan Thanh temple.
Thai Binh Wonderland. Photo: Thái Bình Wonderland
After exploring Thai Binh’s artistic districts, take the opportunity to soak in the sun, visit historic structures, and have a little fun. The province has an attraction to entertain every kind of traveler, so no matter your interest, you’ll be able to find it. Some of the top attractions include Keo Pagoda, Dông Châu Beach, Bác Trach Church, and Thai Binh Wonderland.
Dong Chau Beach
A local beach, Dông Châu is famous for being lined with traditional stilt houses. Built by locals and used for fishing, the houses are a unique addition to this sandy spot. Situated out from the shore, the elevated construction keeps them from being damaged when the area floods. Spots along the sand allow for visitors to layout and enjoy a day near the water.
Bac Trach Church
An impressive structure with European gothic architecture, Bác Trach Church is a stunning attraction. Described as “fairy tale or castle-like”, the church is one of the largest in Vietnam and is home to 100 statues and dozens of domes. An active church, visitors are permitted to enter the premises daily, however, access is occasionally restricted for festivals and private events.
Exterior view of the Bác Trach Church in the Thái Bình Province, Vietnam. Photo by: .
An ancient structure, Keo Pagoda is one of the oldest historic sites in the province. Dedicated to Buddha, the temple was built in 1061 during the Ly Dynasty. Over 1,000 years later, the temple was rededicated to the doctor and monk Nguyên Minh Không, who cured the emperor of leprosy. Today, the temple’s ornate and intricate beauty makes it a top attraction for Thai Binh City.
Thai Binh Wonderland
A small waterpark, Thai Binh Wonderland is a great activity for travelers with families. There are three pools, multiple slides, and a playground installed so that visitors can have a fun or relaxing day. Suitable for all ages, the water park is open throughout the summer season to ensure that everyone can stay cool and escape from the heat.
Amongst the ornate pagodas and temples, there are various festivals held at each one throughout the year. The two most famous celebrations in Thai Binh Province are the Keo Pagoda Festival and the Tran Temple Festival. Preserving traditional rituals and culture, the festivals are a unique time for visitors to tour the province.
The historic Keo Pagoda. Photo by: .
At the Keo Pagoda, there are two festivals held during the year. Coinciding with the New Year, the first festival is held on the 4th of January. The Spring Festival is a time to celebrate local agriculture and the livelihood of the province’s residents. At the end of the year in mid-September, the Autumn Festival is dedicated to Buddha and traditional rituals.
In the Tien Duc commune at the Tran Temple, the festival begins in late February. Hosting traditional rituals and activities, the Tran Temple Festival is most famous for its sporting contests, cake wrapping, and volleyball. Mimicking older traditions, the festival is held in hope of educating the younger generations of their cultural history and identity.
Thai Binh Province experiences two seasons throughout the year – wet and dry. The wet season falls during the summer months of July, August, and September. While the rain can begin as early as May and last until October, by far the heaviest rain showers will likely occur during August and September.
Just before the wet season, June and July tend to be the hottest months of the year. With rain and high heat, most tourists will avoid Thai Binh, choosing the end and beginning of the year as ideal times to travel instead. Starting in November and lasting until April, tourism in the province begins to pick up.
These are also the months when most festivals are held, so visitors have a chance to see the cities and towns during times of celebration. Rain and temperatures from November to April will be lower, so travelers are less likely to have to reschedule activities because of the weather.
Sunset at the beach in the Thái Bình Province, Vietnam. Photo by: Huy Lee.
A quiet province, Thai Binh is gradually building its tourist sector as it becomes an attractive destination for foreign investment. Filled with numerous historic sites, beautiful landscapes, and rich culture, Thai Binh Province is a must-see for anyone who is traveling throughout the Red River Delta Region.
Plus, with its proximity to Hanoi and Haiphong, it’s easy for travelers to head further south during their exploration of Vietnam.
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